Our Hope for Singapore
August 10, 2009, 1:12 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Events, Singapore

DSCF8548 We gathered at Speakers’ Corner today to commemorate our nation’s 44 years of independence.

Each of us gave a personal speech reflecting on ourselves, on the government and the country, based on the words of the national pledge.

Although we had only a small crowd, I personally felt very motivated nevertheless and I really appreciate their attendance. It was also nice to see a few new faces coming along to hear us speak and to see what we were up to.

As I have never really been a good public speaker, I was of course highly nervous. It was a good experience however and I hope that if given a chance next time, I will be able to keep my eyes from being rooted on my piece of paper… shy lah!

Anyway just to share, this was what I had prepared to say:

“The Pledge was written by the late Mr. S. Rajaratnam in 1966 with a dream to build a Singapore we are proud of. Although he believed that language, race and religion were divisive factors, it was hoped that Singaporeans will care enough to overcome these factors. That was about 43 years ago.

Today, the Pledge is being recited as an oath of allegiance to the country in schools and public events such as the National Day Parade.

When most of us were kids, our parents and teachers taught us how to recite the Pledge. It meant alot to me how well I was able to recite it as a show of love and pride for my country. However as time passes, it became something of a mere routine every morning during the flag raising ceremony before class started in school. As I grew older and began to start understanding the words of the Pledge, questions began to appear in my mind with regards to the significance of reciting the Pledge. I looked around and saw no democracy, observed no equality or even justice. Superficially, we can move around freely, choose what to eat for the day, which religion to practice, buy whatever we want to fulfil our material desires but that’s all. We complain but but are not willing to speak. We lament for the want of change but are not willing to seek for change. If we carry on like this, what is the point of reciting the Pledge at all? It is afterall an oath of allegiance to the nation right?

With that, I hope to see more fellow Singaporeans coming forward to make this place theirs and to do a part to honour the words of the Pledge. This is our home. If we don’t make it better for ourselves, who will?”

After each of us had our turns, we sang the song “Freedom freedom we will fight on” (modified from “Solidarity Forever”) and ended the demonstration by reciting the Pledge together.

I am glad that we did it despite our busy schedule and the last minute decision to carry it out, it has added new meaning to my National Day this year. Happy National Day to everyone, and hope that you’ve all had a meaningful one as well.

(Thank you TOC for the publicity and Andrew from TOC for lending us the amplifier. Jufri Salim couldn’t be with us because of family commitments but he prepared a good speech for Seelan to read out. The video of the event will be out by the end of the week, thanks to Martyn who recorded it for us with his phone!)


10 Comments so far
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[…] From Rachel Zeng’s blog: […]

Pingback by Our hope for Singapore – activists speak up | The Online Citizen

just want to say good work and please keep it up!
singapore’s national day (it’s not pap’s national day hor)has become brighter because of selfless people like you.

Comment by anonymous

Thank you for the encouraging words and yes, 9th of August should be regarded rightfully as the day of our country’s independence and not PAP’s national day indeed!😀

Comment by rachelabsinthe

“9th of August should be regarded rightfully as the day of our country’s independence and not PAP’s national day indeed!”

Good work. Like most Hongkong people, I love my country but not the party.

Comment by Sick of SG

Thanks!

We love our country too, that is why we keep on doing what we do, to speak up and keeping working towards the day change comes.🙂

Comment by rachelabsinthe

[…] – The Star Online: Sense of belonging lacking among the young – Rachel Zeng’s blog: Our Hope for Singapore – Sam’s Thoughts: Celebrating National Day: We’re Coming Together, We’re […]

Pingback by The Singapore Daily » Blog Archive » Daily SG: 11 Aug 2009

[…] – The Star Online: Sense of belonging lacking among the young – Rachel Zeng’s blog: Our Hope for Singapore – Sam’s Thoughts: Celebrating National Day: We’re Coming Together, We’re […]

Pingback by The Singapore Daily » Blog Archive » Weekly Roundup: Week 33

Singapore has achieved remarkable economic progress and material prosperity in its 4 decades of independence. But prosperity and progress cannot be measured solely on economic terms. Even when we unpack the ‘economic’, it is a neo-classical and neo-liberal perspective of the economic. The economic prosperity and progress is not shared by all. And I have not even begun to talk about the other non-economic aspects of prosperity and progress. And what about hapiness – are Singaporeans happy? It appears not. So, by focusing on a narrow conception of the ends (happiness, prosperity and progress) while neglecting the means (‘to build a democratic society based on justice and equality’), the PAP has apparently forsaken the original ideals that they claim to espouse, which were contained in the National Pledge that they penned.

Comment by ahtong

Well said, and I hope more Singaporeans think along the same lines as you.🙂

Thanks for the comment!

Comment by rachelabsinthe

[…] Read Rachel’s blog post Our Hope for Singapore […]

Pingback by {Pics & Speeches} Our Hope For Singapore @ Speakers Corner « Jacob 69er




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